"The Canyons" Is Here!!!



An unusual question hovers over The Canyons, a stylishly scandalous tale of sex, lies, manipulation, moviemaking, murder, and other dark-side-of-L.A. pursuits: Can this malevolent thriller soap opera, written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader, possibly match the baroque sleaze and drama of the infamous Jan. 10, 2013, New York Times Magazine story that chronicled the making of the movie? The answer is: Almost (and that's a compliment). The article was built around the bad-girl times of Lindsay Lohan, and it followed the low-budget movie's shoot as it threatened to turn train wreck. But the final film is a tight, diverting piece of work. Its amusement (and limitation) is that it dares to take Ellis' florid cynicism deadly seriously.

Lohan plays Tara, a lost soul who's made herself the live-in plaything of a sex-addict trust-fund sociopath named Christian. He's played by James Deen, the real-life star of 4,000 adult videos — and for once a figure from the porn world reveals true acting talent. Deen makes Christian a rivetingly ice-cold game player. The movie is about how he degrades and controls Tara, recruiting sex partners for her, and also about how she tries to escape him by falling for Ryan (Nolan Funk), a boy toy who's the lead in a bad horror movie Christian is bankrolling. There is much more noirish kink and duplicity on hand. But Schrader tries to find the human side of it all, and he scores with Lohan, who taps a vulnerability beneath her dissolution to remind you why she's still a movie star. (Also available on VOD) B+

source

"We act differently depending on what people we're around," Christian tells his shrink, Dr. Campbell (Gus Van Sant). Maybe so, but not Christian himself. He's a jackass no matter who he shares company with. As the characters in "The Canyons" are put through the paces, not a single relationship on view a healthy one and some downright hazardous, director Paul Schrader aims for sexual frankness and thematic ambition, yet never brings insight to the trivial ins and outs of the story and the petty human behavior on display. Only Lohan is able to inject urgency and realism into the convoluted—a sign of a formidably special sort of actor who, if she can finally get her real-life act together, still might have a future in the biz. Simply put, "The Canyons doesn't deserve her.

source

PAUL SCHRADER’S ‘THE CANYONS’ EXAMINES AND REVEALS THE ARTIFICIALITY OF OUR CULTURE
(...)
After countless adult films, Deen understands how to play to the camera. His leering smirks, icy stares directly into the camera, and smarmy charm sufficiently bring screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis’s Patrick Batman persona into the 21st century. But Lohan is the true revelation. The rising star of Mean Girls is long gone. With her leather skin and cigarette-charred voice, she’s a prime example of a woman Hollywood chewed up and spit out. Like Matthew McConaughey’s transcendent turn in Magic Mike last year, autobiography and narrative bleed together as her magnetic presences captivates every frame. During lunch with Ryan, a former flame, Tara desperately pleads that she could never return to barely scraping by in anonymity. The pain and desperation in her hoarse voice is so palpable and raw that there’s no question Lohan realizes this is almost certainly her last chance to salvage her tarnished career.
(...)
Schrader – fully utilizing the extra-textual baggage of his fading young starlet and rising male porn star — examines our culture’s media-centric power struggle through the artifice of Los Angeles and the vacuous individuals who infest it. Moreover, he has handsomely (there is a difference between ugly and textured) crafted a film which — through its own artifice — forces society to confront its own technologically hallowed visage. To disregard this film due to its inherent fakeness is to miss the point.

Grade: A-

source



Pick of the week: No, I'm not kidding. Paul Schrader's "The Canyons" is flawed and cold, but Lohan's amazing
(...)
If that sounds like a rehash of every Ellis movie-novel project (especially “American Psycho” and “Less Than Zero”), mixed with a few dashes of “Melrose Place,” you’re in the ballpark. But every movie, of the “post-theatrical age” or not, is primarily a question of execution. Schrader and cinematographer John DeFazio, shooting with VOD release on the small screen in mind, notice character quirks and capture the ambience of iconic L.A. locations in ways other filmmakers might miss. As a visual symphony, “The Canyons” is often masterful, and while it may be pornographic in places, it’s never campy. At the center of its cold, beautiful and half-dead world is the almost incandescent Lindsay Lohan, burning like a flawed diamond.

source

It’s hard to imagine another actress of Lohan’s generation who would bring such emotional force to the role of a struggling actress—a thick-skinned, sexually uninhibited, frustrated and confused young woman whose gaze and bearing vibrate with the intense and conflicting feelings that she isn’t, for the moment, bringing out in her work.
(...)
Try to imagine “The Canyons” without Lindsay Lohan’s celebrity. See her as a young actress with an extraordinary emotional energy in her eyes, a fierce yet fragile quiver in her face, a rare and nearly irrepressible force of feeling in her presence, and the role—which is more one of suggestion than of dramatization—depends entirely on her intense natural character. Lohan conveys the sense of being an exceptional person caught in conventional circumstances, one who has taken a leap into a grander and wilder world than the one she was accustomed to, into the sumptuous high-stakes life that she dreamed of, and who risks becoming one of its victims. The performance itself is electrifyingly alive; the convergence of performer and person is wondrous.

source

Now the thing it gives me great pleasure to say: Lindsay Lohan makes a scorching comeback in this film. As with Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, Lohan's well-documented real-life problems prove to be an asset to her performance. Tara is burned out, a bit dazed, and completely frustrated by the Hollywood lifestyle. Some may accuse Lohan of appearing distant or detached from the role, but I don't think that's true. The actress is clearly tapping into her own experiences – not to mention her own demons – to portray an almost thoroughly broken woman, one who doesn't know how to extricate herself from the subculture that has destroyed her. This is one of those cases where a performer seems to be identifying with the material on a deeper-than-normal level. It reminds us not only of the promise Lohan once held, but also of the promise that's still there.

source



Why the Lindsay Lohan VOD vehicle The Canyons is the most interesting American movie of the moment
(...)
If you look at how Lohan had to grow up, it's amazing she kept it together as long as she did. You could see the star's embodiment of the disconnect between the films that made her famous and what was tearing her real life apart in her last starring role, 2007's underrated film maudit I Know Who Killed Me, where she played a hard-living exotic dancer desperately trying to convince an entire neighborhood that she wasn't her goody-good long-lost twin sister.

There's not a single image in The Canyons that approaches the horrifying majesty of I Know Who Killed Me's final shot, but anyone who expects that Lohan has nothing to offer viewers is sorely mistaken. She tears into this role with fierce energy, walking the fine line between dominance and desperation in several scenes that hit way harder than you'd think they would, especially after reading so much of the vitriol directed this film's way. It's a fearless and messy performance, alive and immersive and horrifying in ways few actors would dare.

source

'The Canyons' Review: A Hollywood Tale Tailor-Made for Today's Lindsay Lohan
(...)
Whether or not Schrader cast them to type, Lohan and Deen are both thoroughly effective here. It’s been something of a public tragedy to watch the bubbly Lohan of “The Parent Trap” and “Mean Girls” go through her public meltdown, and the performer we see here is not the youngster we remember; the Lohan of now, for better or for worse, is perfect for Tara, and it’s a combination of her real-life troubles and her extant skills as an actress that makes this performance work so well. She turns what could have been a voyeuristic turn into a genuine glimpse at a broken soul.

source

While some have suggested Lohan’s casting as a prematurely washed-up ingenue is a publicity stunt on Schrader’s part, her ongoing off-screen troubles inform the character of Tara quite smartly: Part of it’s in the slightly beat-up appearance of the substance-prone actor – whose is usually wearing more makeup than even Joan Crawford dared – but mostly it’s in Tara’s utterly palpable instability. When Lohan loses it and cries, as she often does in The Canyons, the line between performer and persona all but disappears.
(...)
Something of a minor prerelease tabloid sensation for its tales of clashes between Schrader and Lohan and the rumours of explicit sex scenes – not to mention Schrader’s obliging direction of Lohan’s brief nude scenes while naked himself – The Canyons is actually anything but gratuitously sensational. On the contrary, it’s rather restrained, even conservative affair, far more interested in expositional conversation and a sustained tone of bleached-out melancholy than cranking up the heat.

source

There's also a tl:dr article by the producer Braxton Pope with a movie featurette on Vanity Fair here with some references to the New York Times article and Lindsay mentions ofc! Here's some parts about her:

Lindsay was a different story. Her talent was well established, but her problems continually eclipsed it.
(...)
With mother Dina at the next table (sitting with the gentleman bearing gifts who notably made an appearance in Rodrick’s Times story), Lindsay announced that she wanted to be in the film, but there was a catch. She refused to play the yoga instructor. She would only participate if she was the lead. I loved the idea.
(...)
On each of her shoot days, she always knew her lines, always apprehended and delivered the dimensionality of the character. There is a saying that planets reflect light and stars emit it. It’s simple: Lindsay is a bona fide star. In her orbit, however, are some strange planets. Take TMZ, for example. At first I thought Lindsay must have a natural antipathy to the gossip organization, yet their relationship is nuanced and complex and, in some ways, symbiotic.
(...)
TMZ would call me with outlandish rumors, such as “We heard the producers of The Canyons”—I was the producer, so I knew immediately whether what they were claiming was true or false—“are going to leak nude photos of Lindsay to drum up acquisitions interest after you were rejected by a festival.” I’d replied that no, I would never do that, and if anyone associated with the film did, it was illegal and we would sue them. But what I said had no impact on their stories. They coax responses from you by making you feel that you are somehow in their clique. They insist they want to support the film, are fans of Lindsay, that Harvey liked what I had to say on the show and that they can be an essential tool for promotion. They claim you are part of the TMZ family. If so, they’re a family that feeds on their own flesh and blood.
(...)
There was only one day of shooting that we had to abort—which, frankly, I blame on Lady Gaga, who was socializing with Lindsay at the Chateau into the wee hours. This sort of occurrence happens when you are Lindsay. Lindsay’s assistant informed me the next morning that Gaga wanted to come visit the set that day, but with Lindsay prostrate on a banquette at the café where we were scheduled to shoot a scene, we couldn’t proceed. We were told it was an earache and sinus infection. Her personal doctor appeared as Schrader fitfully paced around the restaurant. The doctor did a cursory examination and declared her sick. She went back to her hotel room and we sent everyone to the next location.
(...)
She did win over the crew, despite this eye-watering incident, when she returned from Nobu in Malibu one day with platters of high-grade sushi for everyone. It was considerably more appetizing than the tub of Red Vines and the basket of Harvest Cheddar chips that had filled the craft-services table until then. I never saw snacks disappear so fast.
(...)
Film is, of course, a dialogue with an audience. It is not a solitary endeavor. As a producer, you can push as hard as possible toward what you think will achieve artistic truth, yet at the same time you have to consider the economic implications of everything you do. Age-old calculus. When I visited Lindsay in rehab recently, she looked good, healthy. She still had that manic energy and she greeted me on the lawn before leading me to a pond, careful to avoid duck droppings. After a walk around the grounds, she showed me her room, and we sat in an empty community room until visiting hours ended. Fellow patients drifted by, semi-somnambulant. We talked about life, family, and the crazy adventure that was The Canyons. I asked her what she wanted to do in the future. “I want to play Frances Farmer,” she told me. The fallen star of stage and screen, who was institutionalized against her will, had been on Lindsay’s mind. I considered her idea, and told her it sounded pretty good to me.

---

ONTD have you watched The Canyons yet?! Lindsay was SO good and the film is actually very enjoyable